Berlusconi survives again
Added on January 14, 2011
The Italian Constitutional
Court has ruled yesterday that the immunity law, adopted by the current coalition in
March 2010 to grant immunity to Prime Ministry Berlusconi, violates the
constitution. Berlusconi will have to face the judges in three cases
involving bribery of a key witness and tax fraud. The Constitutional Court
also ruled that three referendums pushed forward by Antonio Di Pietro's IDV
will be submitted to the voters, one regarding the immunity law, which is
strange in the sense that the court already ruled that the immunity law is
Added on December 16, 2010 at 11:21 Italian time
The four House members
Silvano Moffa (who had abstained from voting),
Catia Polidori and Maria Grazia Siliquini, who had voted
against their party and for the Berlusconi government, have left Fini's FLI
party and joined the Gruppo Misto (which means that they are without party
Added on December 15, 2010 at 09:03 Italian time
Another unexpected vote for
Berlusconi came from Antonio Razzi. He was elected on the list of the party
Italia dei Valori (IDV) into the Italian House of Representatives (Camera)
by the Italians living in Switzerland. The IDV is headed by the former
Mani Pulite prosecutor Antonio di Pietro, the arch-enemy of Berlusconi.
In that light, it is even stranger that Antonio Razzi suddenly discovered
his love for the Italian government (in December 2010, Razzi had switched
from IDV to the party Noi Sud).
Article added on December 14, 2010 at 19:29 Italian time
September no-confidence vote,
the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived another motion
of no-confidence. In the late morning, as expected, the Senate gave the
government its support with 162 yes, 136 no and 11 abstentions. Even after
the defection of his ally of 16 years, Gianfranco Fini, Berlusconi had
retained a majority in the Senate.
In the House of Representatives (Camera), the situation was very different.
On paper, the government had lost its majority. A lot of horse-trading had
taken place before the vote. People had been promised posts in the cabinet,
secure places on the next electoral list, contracts with the government or
companies owned by Berlusconi. Rumors circulated that up to €500,000 very
offered for a vote; Silvio Berlusconi is a multi-billionaire. The former
judge Antonio di Pietro of the opposition party Italia dei Valori said in
parliament that he had given information (facts, circumstances and names)
about the buying of votes to the Roman district attorney / prosecutor.
Whatever the truth to this new Italian saga, in the end, Silvio Berlusconi's
government survived the no-confidence motion in the House with 314 to 311
The narrow victory was made possible thanks to several defections from
Catia Polidori of Gianfranco Fini's newly created FLI party had stated on
December 2 that she would not vote for Berlusconi, but by December 14, she
had changed her mind and voted in support of the current government.
Siliquini (FLI) explained her unexpected support for Berlusconi
with the words that nothing had changed since the
September no-confidence vote, where she and the rest of the Fini
group had supported the government. Maria Grazia
Siliquini also announced her intention to
join Berlusconi's PLD again.
On December 12 already, Silvano Moffa (FLI) had distanced himself
from Gianfranco Fini. He abstained from voting.
In short, December 14 turned out to be a day of personal defeat for
Gianfranco Fini, who could not count on the support of all members of his
newly formed FLI.
Berlusconi's narrow victory was also made
possibly thanks to defections from other oppositional parties.
Antonio Gaglione (a former member of the social-democratic PD, who
later became a member of the party Noi Sud), abstained from voting. Unlike
Silvano Moffa, no trace of him could be found today in the House of
Representatives (Palazzo Montecitorio).
Three further crucial defections came from the brand new opposition party Movimento di Responsabilità Nazionale,
founded on December 9, 2010 by the three members of the House Cesario, Caleari
Massimo Calearo had been a member of the social-democratic PD since 2009.
When the left-leaning Pier
Luigi Bersani took over the party, Calearo left the PD and was without party
affiliation (in Italy called Gruppo Misto). Domenico
Scilipoti from Sicily used to be a member of the party Italia dei Valori of
the former prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro, an arch-enemy of Silvio Berlusconi.
Scilipoti left the party and was withouth party-affiliation. Bruno Cesario
was another member of the PD until 2009, when he left because of Pier Luigi Bersani
taking over the PD. Cesario left the PD for the
API, a party run by the centrist politician Francesco Rutelli.
Cesario, Calearo and Scilipoti created a new party and voted for
Berlusconi's government. It would not come as a surprise if they were
integrated into the prime minister's cabinet or ended up on secure spots on
the electoral list of Berlusconi's PLD, as may happen with the three
defectors from Fini's FLI mentioned above.
As unfit as Silvio Berlusconi is to lead the government, as unfit is the
opposition to come up with an alternative leader and an alternative
coalition. Berlusconi's narrow win does not secure him peace. His coalition
could falter at any moment. More fun is to come at a time when Italy's debt
has reached 118% of GDP. Italy's agony, both politically and economically,
will continue. -
Giuseppe Verdi sheet music.